Thursday, December 2, 2010

Who is Alf Hickey ?

Alf's Movember creation for his fiance last year.
Movember is a great initiative supporting oft neglected men's health.

Alf got his nick name at high school, when ALF (Alien Life Form) showed on Australian TV. Alf always felt comfortable with that name, saying "every Christian is an alien in this world." Alf is cheeky and likes taking the piss.

See: Christians are Alfs ? 1 Peter 2:11

Alf is a no-nonsense person, with a heart for justice, truth and the whole person, which for him includes the spiritual dimension. He has a good balance of technical, mechanical and creative thinking in his problem solving bag. He needs to be challenged. He cares deeply for the real needs of people and society, with a unique generosity and discerning wit. Alf likes singing, he co-led the singing at the Easter March last year and sang with the Docklands Community Choir, as seen on TV adds:

Alf the only boy in an add for the Dockland's Community choir 2008.
Where are all the boys ?
He is a reformer of church and community, believing that these sometimes follow negative patterns, which devalue people and God. He says. common sense can solve most problems, yet where is this common sense today ? Common sense is something that computers do very poorly.

See: Marvin Minsky at technology Review on Computers and Common Sense

Alf says that people are immensely valuable, having great purpose and glory, being created in God's image. For him, eternal things are more valuable than mortal things, people can be immortal. This world displays how far or how close we are to God and each other. He says, without Jesus he is and has nothing. He wants to be more like Jesus. He says, "Jesus loves us all so much that he died and rose for us. You can't care more than that !" We are supposed to love Jesus too.

Alf played for the Docklands Demons in 2009, having being one of the co-founders of Docklands Church as pastor Guy Mason describes him. The church is now called City on a Hill. The other team was the St Jude's Unicorns. Alf joked, "at least we're biblical."
He has applied this design thinking to difficult problems in many domains. The cognitive model sketch below, is one of Alf's explanatory models of human cognition from contemporary research, with a few ideas of his own. It describes, explains and predicts general human behaviour and thinking. He argues, that it has been predictive of recent developments in cognition and neuroscience, making it potentially causal. The model transcends the Cartesian brain body divide issue and can explain the operation of most gestures and actions which people perform.

See: Dualism
See: Situated Cognition

One of Alf's sketches of cognitive models of the human mind from his PhD studies at Sydney University.
His original research was gestures in designing. This quickly required a new cognitive model to account for their place in a cognitive system. The model accounts for prospective, retrospective and bodily "memory," sensation, perception and conception as well as "limbic drivers." The model can be applied to sleep as well as waking phenomena. It may holds keys to a causal explanation of human cognition generally.
Alf is a Renaissance man, an artist, designer, poet and philosopher. Alf's favourite poem is a parody of Western life which he wrote about 10 years ago:
Not me too

I'm at peace in my heart, I don't really exist
My robotic cells burn day after day
And when I wear out and fertilize the flowers of the field
I'm reborn as the muck of the worm

Such peace and harmony covers my life

Such Nirvana that fills my whole universe
My brain is tickled by the touch of the light
As my alarm clock beckons again
To the computer I am called

My bones, my stomach, my testicles, my all

Just atoms moving around in temporary patterns
And microwaves and sounds of cars so beat
I dive into the pixels on the screen
I dive into the pixels on the screen

I'm a clone, I'm a drone, in the world the big computer

I'm a chip and a brick, even a number too
And I'm also just a pixel on the screen
I'm also just a pixel on the screen

I follow and conform to the educated norm

I enjoy all the normal activity
Controversial crass never comes across my face
Cause I do the perfect robot thing, yeeeeeha !

Follow me and you will see, the joy of ignorance

The freedom and the peace, they grow so sweet
I live like an ape, moving up into the tree
The tree of the scientific, logical world.
The Carpenter's Tear.
Alf's sculpture exhibited at the Docklands Community Art Exhibition.
His poem about Jesus, coincides with a sculpture he made for an exhibition at Docklands, where he lived for a year. The idea is that people have lost a sense of empathy for God. The God of the bible is just like us, perfectly represented in Jesus Christ, who has real emotions, love and desire for love, which is terribly unrequited by us, even Christians.
The sculpture depicts the emotions and love of God in timber, the medium of Jesus' trade.
People spear God's tears, in God's love and suffering for people. It is not a pretty picture of Australian attitudes to God.

Carpenter's Tears

Forming, growing, living drops
Falling upward to the Father
Drowning pain as water
Twirling streams cyclonic
Our origins unravelling
Rage of unrequited love
Strands of life-captured-time
Beginning to the end of all
In His heart's hand held
Suffering weave of striving
To one's own wood rejected
Till tears turn to blood
Downward falling lead-like
Melting this globe dripping
Consuming in the consummation
Whose blood breathes His breath
Those carved by The mouth's chisel
Animation by His lumber lungs
Blood burying with His blood too
Tears floating us to the second life
After a recent rejection because of money, Alf wrote his "recycle me" poems presenting what the world is doing to people. Alf likes to personify society as self. In Recycle Me 2, he portrays people as reduced to money and how he wishes money would turn on those who revel in oppressing people with it. Alf reminds that Keynes, the father of demand economics promised that it would be an immoral system and a temporary system at that. He also jokes, that we should pay a royalty to the Indians, every time a computer uses the numbers O, or any number at that.

See: John Maynard Keynes Quote Five
See: Indian origin of our number system
Recycle me 2

A silly sausage, yes am I
For the world it tells me so
That I need to be a dollar
To be ground up, so they say

So turn me inside out
Roll me through your press
Mint me with your stamp
I want to have your worth

It works for the Queen
Her head on every coin
If I can be converted
This world is quite perverted

I could be in every dollar
And some of me in cents
Then I would have a function
Purpose, use & relevance

Melt my fat to make your diesel
Brush my blood, upon your easel
Oh yes that's right
I'm just a weasel

Feed my soul to your machine
I'll turn your stocks a cow poo green
The bullish market with its horns
To gouge what once was only thorns

The bear will tear you limb from limb
Ching ching you, from rim to rim
Slotted as the slot you are
Your atoms to one big bazaar

I'll become your God your dollar
Morphed into an ATM walla
I feel your fingers and your pocket
Plug into your heart's own socket

Recycled into your cash
In crotch pocket dwell like rash
When dead I'm reincarnated
Under money you outdated

By default your soul is dead
Bleeding into thousands red
All life to the mainframe at the bank
Saviour Wall Street God I thank

Squash my head into a coin
Crush my soul into a note
Turn my neurones into numbers
I want to live forever


Alf believes that design is a key paradigm for understanding and improving our lives. He believes it can be applied to any problem. This is being more and more acknowledged in society. At RMIT, Alf studied sustainability and eco-redesign, where he developed his local philosophy of society and even products.

He designed a new type of air-conditioner which localised air distribution. At Swinburne two years later, he designed a lantern, promoting the prosthetic light, rather than a full room fixed light as a more sustainable paradigm. As for the ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme), Alf jokes, "dump the ETS, go to bed when the sun goes down."

Alf's design and prototype for a palpatory simulator robot to help train midwifery students in Abdominal Palpation. Alf had to learn abdominal palpation, in order to understand abdominal palpation and the
positions, possibilities of presentation of a mid term fetus. The skills demonstrate, complex problem solving, organic sculptural modelling, robotics, complex cad, assembly and part drawings for manufacture. This was Commonwealth funded research (CAUT grant) and was achieved in his second year of Industrial Design at RMIT, with a full course load, while doing another project, for RMIT Asset Management.
Alf resolves complex designs. The robot was designed in the second year of his Industrial design course. In his furniture technology course Alf demonstrated his problem solving skills from concept models and Cad to writing G-Code programs to cut out his design using a CNC (computer numerical control machine).


Alf has taught in many contexts, at many schools, in Sydney, Melbourne and the UK.
His teaching philosophy is applied to the real world and contexts, customised to the student's personal interests.

Alf has been in many leadership roles and taught many subjects. But his core has always been Design and Technology, Graphics and Art, for which he trained. He has also tutored and lectured at university. In one school in 2006, he demonstrated both his ability and the exploitation of teachers in Victorian schools. Just one of these tasks, such as the school yearbook, saved the school over $10,000. At St Albans Secondary, in one year, he did these activities on top of his teaching load:
Coordinated, created policy, collated, promoted, designed and published Alba
and Special editions on request, odd graphics for other publications, publicity brochures for
promotions overseas and CD cover for 50th Anniversary CD
Created an interactive online version of the Alba school newsletter.
Planning, policy, organisation, promoting student involvement in School Magazine (yearbook),
organising quotes and deadlines. Designed and Implemented Yearbook.
> Student Academic, Social Monitoring and Correction
> Rolls
> Report collation and checking
> Helped with training, supervising and coaching teams, helped manage excursions
5. JUNIOR TABLE TENNIS, August-September, SASC
Training Support at lunchtimes
> Mentored, supervised, encouraged, guided and evaluated
> Demonstrated basic teaching/learning strategies and classroom management
> Used the thematic integration strategy associated with the Commonwealth Games to
organise learning
March to June
> Was playing to keep fit and have fun, but injured my knee quite seriously in the process.
January to August
Setting up the graphics area was a great challenge. The place was a complete mess. Work
was left all over the place, there was no system and resources were not working when I first
came. Getting it under control followed these stages:
A. Courses basic plans and Activities
B. Resourcing and getting resources to work
C. Creating a positive learning environment
> Helped organise students
> Coached individuals in running, high jump
> Marshalled relays/supervision
> Photography for the day
13. COORDINATING “GRAPHICS” (Multimedia Art & Design, Photography electives),
SASC, January to December
> Course plan
> Resourcing
> Room development
> Room maintenance
> Computer maintenance

Alf's immediate family in 2008
He comes from an interesting family. Alf was named after his dad Alfred Hickey. His father was born in Parkville, and after his grandmother's death, was then swapped between relatives, in Ballarat and Pascoe Vale. Uncle Andy owned and ran the historic Magnet Bakery in Ballarat, where the current McDonalds is today. He also raced greyhounds, naming them after different pastries, like dropscone and crumpet. He collected leeches for the Ballarat hospital for burns victims and walked the dogs around Lake Wendoree. His aunt sponsored the building of a ward at the hospital.

Being an orphan, he duced Uni High and became a pioneer in Art and Design in Melbourne and gospel work in the Middle East, after mystical encounters with God. Real places would be shown him, which later appeared real, as he went there. After doing an apprenticeship in Advertising with Maxwell Goswinkle and studying under Alan Sumner at National Gallery Art School, he then went to London where he studied theology at London Bible College and studied at London printing school, all while being an art director at Ben Brothers and manager in advertising.

There is little doubt in the Hickey's mind about the reality of God and Jesus from personal experiences. In India he ran two advertising agencies, Grafika and Alfred Allan, which still runs today.

See: Alfred Allan Advertising

Starting the first advertising agency in Afghanistan "Dilkesh," Alf's father designed the corporate image Ariana Afghan Airlines (a subsidiary of Pan America) which is still used today.

Many stamps from the 60s in Afghanistan, were designed by Fred Hickey, including one which contained real gold. Speaking fluent Dari, he was able to communicate with the people and was friends with the king Zahir Khan, teaching the king's children art and playing tennis with the king's son. He observed the politics and working with US AID, as a communications person, he was party to many of the nations secrets as the Americans developed the south and the Russians developed the north of the country. He was part of the first church in Afghanistan, whose building upon completion was demolished the day after. The government coincidentally fell and the people understood this to be judgment associated with demolishing the building, this for Christians, in what was still then, a strongly Islamic country.


He explained to the late Senator George Georges, who was one of his relatives, that Afghanistan was not invaded by Russia, a lie which saw Australia boycott an Olympic games in Moscow. After hearing his father's evidence, George admitted, that the government had made a mistake. The newspapers would not publish his evidence.

When doing a PhD at Sydney University, Alf explained, after September 11, that the US had no legitimate reason to invade Iraq. About Afghanistan, that Bin Laden was a CIA operative, which was public knowledge.

See: Bin Laden's CIA Roots

Dad watched silly Australian reporters, call "Mujaheddin" Afghan freedom fighters, when they clearly were Pakistani and other foreigners. People in Australia and the US, were so angered and emotional, that reason was thrown out the window.

Alf was called a "dickhead terrorist." He explained that "the truth will come out about Iraq," which it has recently, that the war in Iraq was based on a lie. Alf also advised some Australian officers, that Australia probably should not have helped invade Afghanistan. As with any tribal people they remember wrongs for thousands of years and they are suspicious of foreigners. Australia which was somewhat neutral, has become so associated with the US, that we can be targeted as Americans now.

Alf says: people like Andrew Wilkie and the Wikileaks guy should be honoured, because,
"Australians don't want blood of innocent people on their hands, or our consciences, because of the lies of our leaders. We would eventually pay for it. National hatreds can be hard to heal. We need to learn from our mistakes." Alf says, despite the false motives for going to Afghanistan and Iraq, the Australians have learned, as have the Americans, to help the people, and develop, not oppress or destroy them. It may be too late though, for such healing.
Fred Hickey's Corporate Image of Ariana Afghan Airlines from the 60s

Promotion for Ariana Afghan Airlines
Alf has a talented mother who won the Shankar art award for her age group as a teenager. As a teacher of over 30 years, her art students have won many art competitions in Melbourne.

See: Shankar International Children's Competition

One of Alf's sisters, is a star ballerina at the local Ballet school, almost completing her Cecchetti certificate. The other is the general manager of a company.